Vaccine misinformation should not be tolerated
Almost five-million people worldwide have died as a result of Covid-19.
That means almost five-million families heartbroken over losing a loved one — in some cases even multiple family members or friends.
And since the pandemic started wreaking havoc in almost all corners of the earth, there has been a push for vaccines that will stem the rising death toll and, it is hoped, ultimately rid us of the dreaded virus once and for all.
It has taken many months of good and bad decisions, but eventually, SA’s vaccination programme is in full swing and all of those over the age of 18 can get their jabs.
Many are still hesitant to do so, but by Thursday evening, more than 15-million doses of the vaccine had been administered and seven-million South Africans were fully vaccinated.
It is not nearly enough to achieve herd immunity as tens of millions more still need to be vaccinated to do so.
Until then, our hospitals and healthcare workers will continue to feel the strain of the coronavirus.
This is why irresponsible messaging around the vaccines should not be tolerated.
US rapper Nicki Minaj came under fire recently after claiming that a person on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago had suffered swollen testicles after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine.
She alleged on Twitter that her cousin in Trinidad refused to get the vaccine because his friend had become impotent after being vaccinated.
The claim turned out not to be true and triggered an international backlash — rightly so.
Not only are such false claims and hearsay irresponsible, they are downright dangerous.
It is especially important for those in the public eye to seek all the answers before spewing unverified vitriol to the public that is not backed up by scientific evidence.
Yes, the vaccines can cause side effects, but they are seldom severe.
According to the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority and the department of health, no-one in SA has died as a direct result of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine.
And if there were any vaccine-related deaths, then there would be compensation through a special compensation fund.
Misinformation should have no place in a society that is battling a pandemic.
It makes a mockery of the valiant efforts of our healthcare workers who have been fighting bravely on the front lines to save lives — even risking their own.
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